Wednesday, August 12, 2009

David Fairbairn, Stella Downer Fine

Went to see this really good exhibition last week.

David has broken out into colour – magnificent emerald greens with Indian Yellows (I think!) and pink/grey/black combinations which make me wish he’d taken the plunge earlier.

David Fairbairn was a teacher of mine at NAS – Life Drawing. I knew him to be very intellectual, quite attractive (to an older woman like me) and easy to engage in conversation. We were both selected for the inaugural Art on the Rocks in 2003, which David won. He has already won the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, which he accepted in his usual, modest way and put the money towards a new studio on his property in Wedderburn, the apple country just west of Sydney. His work, until this date, was all black and dark browns with white highlights, drawn in many layers on the one surface, as well as many versions of the one subject (usually depicting people of his acquaintance). In his words, David’s works “are a forensic mapping out of an energy field." FAIRBAIRN creates architectural portraits using angular lines. His densely layered works on paper portray the inherent fragility and transient nature of human existence - the shifting layers become markers of time, capturing every movement of the sitter and every mark made by the artist. FAIRBAIRN combines printmaking, draughtsmanship and painting. His works begin with a completed print which becomes the underlying structure for the layers of paint he uses to build the work.

Besides colour, the other surprise was the scale of a number of works, hung in the Depot II space and spilling over into the regular Stella Downer Gallery beside it. They hit you in the face like a wall - you can explore the lines and get lost in them, travelling into the picture and seeing the abstract qualities and depth in the execution. They are also reasonabley priced works, but this show may change all that for the next one. I was there the day after opening, mid winter in the GFC, and he had sold about half (the best of the large works gone but some still left). My favourites were these pics, the smaller one was my choice to buy if I had the money!

Well worth getting over there, folks

Stella Downer Fine Art (and Depot II Gallery) 2 Danks St Sydney 28 July - 23 Aug 2009

Image: David Fairbairn (Large) “VH no4” and (smaller) “DG No 12”

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